Mayor Ed Lee is expected to submit a $7.9 billion budget proposal today showing spending increases of $500 million and the addition of 866 government workers.
Reaping the benefits of a booming technology industry, Lee is able to spare cuts to social services in the Department of Public Health; fund police and fire academy classes; build The City’s budget reserves; and add hundreds of nurses, lab technicians, Medi-Cal eligibility specialists, Muni personnel, police officers and firefighters.
The City works on a two-year budget cycle. In the second year, fiscal year 2014-15, Lee’s budget proposal remains at $7.9 billion, and cuts to social services are expected as The City implements requirements under the federal Affordable Care Act.
The two-year proposal includes funding for six Police Academy classes at a cost of about $5 million each to hire an additional 300 police officers, along with three Fire Academy classes at about $1.5 million apiece to hire 120 firefighters.
The budget also includes hiring 20 deputy sheriffs and 10 911 operators.
Also, The City’s workforce would grow from 26,856 workers to 27,722 in the first year, bringing salary and benefits to $3.9 billion — which is about half the overall budget.
And San Francisco would spend $72 million on capital projects next fiscal year, up from $52 million this year.
Nonprofit leaders involved in the budget process praised the mayor for rejecting the first year of proposed service cuts to the Department of Public Health and adding money to increase services.
The budget proposal beefs up reserves as well. A stabilization fund, which is for use during an economic downturn, increases from the current $102.5 million to $132.8 million in two years. A reserve fund for unforeseen budget expenses grows from $44.7 million in the first year to $55.5 million in the second year.
The special voter-approved rainy-day fund to help San Francisco Unified School District will decrease each year as funds are withdrawn by the district and not replenished. It would go from the current $23.3 million to $17.5 million in the first year and $13.1 million in the second year. Additionally, the budget includes $103 million during the two years for the public schools under the 2004 voter-approved Proposition H.
Six months ago, The City was looking at a projected $123.6 million budget deficit. But the local economy has improved, adding an unexpected $54.9 million in tax revenues. And there have been savings of $52 million over two years after health rates did not increase as expected for workers and retirees enrolled in Blue Shield insurance.
After the mayor submits his budget proposal today, the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee will review and make changes over a process that takes at least a month.